Sasha Baron Cohen’s Borat follow-up, Bruno, has been given a NC-17 rating by the MPAA, reportedly owing to gay sex scenes included in the movie which the ratings board believes go too far, according to an article on The Wrap.
The piece highlights scenes in which fashionista Bruno “appears to have anal sex with a man on camera”. It also notes one in which he “goes on a hunting trip and sneaks naked into the tent of one of the fellow hunters’ who is allegedly a non-actor.
Sources from Universal said that Cohen will need to deliver an R rated movie to gain a release through the studio, although they added it is early in the process so no struggle has yet occurred.
The decision has provoked some interesting reactions around the blogosphere, including Brendon Connelly over at /Film who rails on the MPAA over the decision.
“I’d expect the BBFC to pass the film completely uncut for an 18 rating in the UK. Should Universal end up releasing an R rated cut in the US, however, it is likely to be that version they submit to censorship and classification boards and therefore release elsewhere around the globe. We all suffer, and the filmmakers’ intentions are smoothed-off worldwide, just because of the corporate interests and narrow minds prevalent in big-money US cinema. Sickening.”
For me, the more prescient point to take in is how close in proximity this decision comes to the reports that I Love You, Philip Morris, the gay love story starring Ewan MacGregor and Jim Carrey, is struggling to find a distributor. Could there be an undercurrent of homophobia creeping back into the US film industry? This would be despite the critical love shown to both Brokeback Mountain and Milk over the past couple of years.
I’m not sure it is but this decision, specifically given the nature of the scenes highlighted, once more brings up the problems with the MPAA, and all entertainment regulatory bodies, in their treatment of sex versus violence.